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Terror suspect “wanted martyrdom”

Published måndag 25 april 2016 kl 15.35
Terrormisstänkt i Attunda tingsrätt
The trial against a man suspected of planning a terror attack in Sweden and trying to join IS concludes Monday. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

A 20-year-old suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in Sweden has told a district court he aspires to become a martyr.

Swedish intelligence service Säpo arrested the man on February 8th after a tip from his mother. His trial at the Attunda district court outside Stockholm ended today, Monday.

Prosecutor Ewamari Häggkvist opened the last day of the trial by asking the accused if he wants to become a martyr, news agency TT reported. The man replied: "Yes, that is the best thing you can achieve in Islam."

The 20-year-old is accused of trying to join terror group IS after having attempted to go to Turkey twice, and of building a bomb in order to carry out a terror attack in Sweden.

The man downloaded manuals and bought several items, including steel bullets, six bottles of acetone and a pressure cooker, and is suspected of having started building a bomb using the material.

"He says he bought the pressure cooker in order to cook, but there is nothing that implies that he is interested in food," Häggkvist told TT, adding: "I'm saying that his intention was to kill other people, enemies of IS - people who do not share IS’ faith – in order to be accepted as a martyr and to enter paradise.”

The man threw away the items he purchased because his father was angry with him and not because he himself wanted to do so, Häggkvist claimed.

The man's attorney, Peter Jansson, said his client threw away the pressure cooker that was central to the prosecution's case and that the man therefore would not have been able to build a bomb. Jansson did concede that the man could have bought the components in order to detonate a bomb in a closed space but said he was only "pointing to the possibility that there are alternative explanations".

Häggkvist pushed for a 20-year prison sentence, but the man has denied the accusations made against him, saying it is all based on a misunderstanding.

On the first day of his trial, the man told the court: "I do not want to say anything accept that I deny the charges completely. I have never intended to hurt anyone or to build an explosive device."

The mother called Säpo on January 15th, saying she was concerned about her son. Relatives have since told Säpo that the 20-year-old was depressed, that he had isolated himself and had expressed radical opinions.

The mother apparently told Säpo that her son had said he wanted to die in God's name and was "open to doing something in Sweden". He was arrested a few weeks after the mother's initial phone call on suspicion of plotting a terror attack. The trial commenced in April.

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